Australia and England are two of the popular Test teams in the game. They enjoy a great historical relevance, and as part of this, they take part in the Ashes, considered as the greatest rivalry in the game. From a cricketing perspective, as well, both these teams are a difficult opposition, especially at their home. It would require a strong and well-balanced XI to beat a team comprising the best from an Ashes tournament. On that note, in this article, we take a look at the current Rest of the World XI that can easily beat the combined Ashes XI of 2021/22.
Openers: Rohit Sharma and Dimuth Karunaratne
Rohit Sharma and Dimuth Karunaratne will open the batting for the Rest of the World XI. Rohit and Dimuth stood at No.2 and No.3 in the list of highest run-getters in Tests last year, respectively. They also hold on to good rankings on the list of ICC’s Test batting charts. While Dimuth has been consistent over the last few years, 2021 was the year in which Rohit proved himself as a Test cricketer. For long, the lack of an overseas Test century had been haunting him. Against England in 2021, he got the feat. His performance helped India take lead in that series.
Middle-Order: Kane Williamson, Virat Kohli (C), Rishabh Pant (WK), and Fawad Alam
Usually, in the current best Test XI, the likes of Marnus Labuschagne and Joe Root would have come into the picture at No.3 & No.4. However, with both representing the combined Ashes XI, it would be fair enough to bring in Kane Williamson and Virat Kohli at these positions. Although the current form of the duo may not be great, they are classy customers and warrant a spot in this XI.
Rishabh Pant’s present form is not encouraging, but he had a decent 2021. He started off well at the Gabba and then continued the good form against England at home. Hence, he keeps wickets for this side. Fawad Alam, who scored 571 runs in 2021, will bat at No.6.
All-Rounders: Jason Holder
Jason Holder will be the only all-rounder in this Rest of the World XI that can easily beat the combined Ashes XI of 2021/22. In fact, the West Indian is ranked as the No.1 All-Rounder in Tests at the moment. While he scored 362 runs in 2021, he took 22 wickets with the ball. It was a performance that held the West Indies Team in the five-day format. That said, there is a scope for improvement in his performance.
Bowlers: R Ashwin, Kyle Jamieson, Jasprit Bumrah and Shaheen Afridi
It would be unfair to count both R Ashwin and Kyle Jamieson as pure bowlers. However, for this XI, that would be their primary role. Ashwin had a terrific 2021, leading the charts in the wickets column. He also had a memorable year with the bat. Jamieson stepped up when his team needed him the most. He was one of the main reasons why New Zealand won the World Test Championship final against India.
Jasprit Bumrah did not exactly have a memorable year in Tests in terms of numbers. However, from an impact point of view, as it has been ever since his debut, Bumrah was top-notch. To break down the difficult batting unit of the Ashes XI, Bumrah is necessary for this attack. Shaheen Afridi was the highest wicket-taking pacer in 2021. The Pakistan youngster took 47 wickets and hence, features in this XI.